Kamichu! Original Soundtrack – Review

Album Title: KamiChu! Original Soundtrack
Anime Title: KamiChu!
Artist: Yoshihiro Ike, Junpei Fujita, Noriyasu Agematsu, MAKO, Maho Tomita
Catalog Number: SVWC-7291
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: October 26, 2005
Purchase at: CDJapan, Rightstuf


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
01. Study Period in Love Yoshihiro Ike 2:52
02. The Hill That Leads to You Yoshihiro Ike 3:10
03. Junior High school Students March On! Yoshihiro Ike 2:25
04. It’s Bad Karma! Yoshihiro Ike 3:15
05. Love is Mysterious Yoshihiro Ike 3:14
06. Let’s Go Home by Bike Yoshihiro Ike 3:09
07. Time Flows Slowly Yoshihiro Ike 2:17
08. It’s Nothing Yoshihiro Ike 3:13
09. Come Together, Ghosts and Goblins! Yoshihiro Ike 2:36
10. A Little Mysterious Yoshihiro Ike 2:45
11. Saying ‘I Love You’ Across the River Yoshihiro Ike 1:40
12. Divine Girls Yoshihiro Ike 3:34
13. Sentimental Country Romance Yoshihiro Ike 2:10
14. Nap Time Anytime Yoshihiro Ike 2:36
15. Rush, Rush, Rush Yoshihiro Ike 1:50
16. Paradise Time Yoshihiro Ike 3:04
17. The One-way Ferry of Love Yoshihiro Ike 1:36
18. Dream Colored Hill Yoshihiro Ike 2:48
19. The Hill from That Summer Yoshihiro Ike 1:57
20. An Exciting Detour Oh My God! Yoshihiro Ike 2:45
21. Junior High School Students March Further On! Yoshihiro Ike 2:43
22. The Beach is Good! Setouchi Surfin’ Paradise Yoshihiro Ike 2:06
23. Clear, Later Clear! (TV version) Maho Tomita 1:33
24. Ice Candy (TV Version) MAKO 1:11

Review: Listening to Kamichu!’s soundtrack is like flipping through an old picture book where each page crackles when it’s lifted and the images are soft and faded from use, but the author and illustrator’s warmth and tenderness still wafts forth to rekindle the nostalgia for youthful days long past. The musical ideas contained within this soundtrack are simple and nothing is too rushed or complicated; Yoshihiro Ike’s compositions for Kamichu! feel like a pleasant dream that washes over you gently leaving you feeling much satisfied from the experience, echoing the sort of lingering thoughts that the anime achieves with ease.

For an anime about an unassuming middle schooler’s sudden rise to divinity, the soundtrack’s dreamy atmosphere is a perfect accompaniment for what happens on screen. After all, when the world of gods and spirits collide with a middle schooler’s life, the result is bound to be surreal. Despite the new responsibilities that protagonist Yurie Hitotsubashi must bear, her life still consists of childhood predilections with none of the heavy concerns that weigh down adulthood. To that end, the music reflects her adventures, whether it involves day to day concerns like school and family or higher orders resulting from her divinity.

With that in mind, the first track, “Study Period in Love,” touches on both the dreamy realm of childhood and that of the spirits as it murmurs forth a calming air carried by the woodwinds that whisks you into the pleasantness of a child’s daydreams. The atmosphere it sets lacks urgency and the piece delightfully meanders about, creating a serene ambience that is wonderfully relaxing and innocent, with only a brief solo violin part that delivers a yearning feeling to diverge oh-so-slightly from the overarching mellowness.

Study Period in Love

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The dreamy mood set by the opening track persists into the next track, “The Hill that Leads to You,” as the woodwinds and strings continue with the lovely, soporific melody with its drawls and dawdles. But though the lightness remains, after the introduction, the string melody feels less ethereal and the tempo quickens to nudge one awake. With the relatively grandiose ending backed by the brass, one gets a sense of an impending adventure, one that materializes in “Junior High school Students March On!” where the steady beat hurries one along into a world filled with activity. The melody conveyed is simple in its approach but the combination of skipping strings, trilling woodwinds, and jovial trumpet makes for a quietly rousing piece that splendidly captures the serendipity of childhood jaunts in a small, rural town.

The Hill that Leads to You

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Junior High school Students March On!

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With that in mind, Ike’s compositions for Kamichu!, with their slow tempos and unhurried delivery, do an excellent job of evoking the innocence of childhood, with its adventures and discoveries in a world far from the daily hubbub of city life. “Let’s Go Home by Bike” exemplifies this with the cello delivering a mellow melody that blooms serenely as if to express a child’s awe and wonder upon witnessing something extraordinary. Later on, the woodwinds come in with soft, longing tones, draping a blanket of tranquility that covers the soundscape to leave one at peace. “The Hill from That Summer” is more stereotypically rustic, using the acoustic guitar and woodwinds to convey the image of the small countryside town using the theme from “The Hill that Leads to You.” Nothing is ever rushed and this piece, like many others on the soundtrack, is content to flow along at a languid pace to puts one at ease. Finally, “An Exciting Detour Oh My God!” is altogether too cute, with a piano happily bouncing along in impish delight backed by a twangy guitar to mesh with the setting. While far from complicated, the whimsical experience that it delivers is charming, especially when the mischief emerges in the fun trills that surface.

Let’s Go Home by Bike

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An Exciting Detour Oh My God!

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Between the rustic tones and the child-like atmosphere that sweep you along with aplomb, Ike sprinkles in some mellow tracks that envelope you with their warmth. Pieces like “Divine Girls” are wonderfully sentimental in the way they employ twinkling piano lines and long, drawn-out notes from the strings to fill you with quiet contentment. “Paradise Time” falls in the same general mold, with a piano that lets its happy tones wash over you, endearing itself to you with its sweetness. The only real curveball is with “The Beach is Good! Setouchi Surfin’ Paradise” where you get an electric guitar jamming out a lively, bouncy, beach theme that ends the BGM section on a most upbeat note.

Paradise Time

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The Beach is Good! Setouchi Surfin’ Paradise

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Kamichu!’s soundtrack, with its soothing tones and stream of quiet contentment, is destined to be underrated when compared to heavier hitters like sketchbook’s or ARIA’s soundtracks. But as the backdrop to a very cute show about a new god trying to make her way around her new circumstances while dealing with problems most middle schoolers encounter, Yoshihiro Ike’s music is simple, yet effective as it plunges you into a delightful, even refreshing, adventure.

Rating: Very Good

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

3 thoughts on “Kamichu! Original Soundtrack – Review

  • January 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm
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    Holy cow! What are you, Zero? You’re incredibly good at painting a picture with your words. I can’t help but smiling while reading your review.

    I really like your introductory paragraphs that talk a bit about the anime and I wouldn’t mind if they were a little longer. It also tells me how you liked the anime itself.

    Reply
    • January 8, 2013 at 12:53 am
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      @Vanthrevolution
      I think there are two factors at work here:
      1) A soundtrack that’s really evocative like this one isn’t as hard to write about because of what Ike does to bring those images to mind. When I listened to this, Yurie’s adventures just sprung to mind and it’s almost like re-experiencing the anime once more. In a way, this soundtrack wrote itself!
      2) I also had this sitting in my car’s CD player for over 2 months, so that helped me get really familiar with it. It never hurts when the thought jumps into your mind that goes like “hey, this would be a great way to describe this piece!” 😀

      Yeah, it’s tough to balance keeping it succinct while being flowery and descriptive. I’ll be sure to do it whenever appropriate!

      Reply
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